Anger and sorrow: two emotions inextricably linked, the yin and yang of loss. Emotions that can drive human beings to implosion or to greatness. In the not too distant past, judging by a number of tragedies and crises in the Slipknot camp, implosion seemed a likely outcome.
Then again, Slipknot have always seemed on the edge of implosion, and this is part of what makes their music—and live performances, especially—feel so dangerous, yet so intoxicatingly fun.
Anger and sorrow are also the driving forces behind .5: The Gray Chapter. Balancing these emotions within the context of a metal album, without sounding forced or contrived, is no easy task, but Slipknot pulls it off with aplomb here. Take “AOV,” for starters, which alternates between furious verses and choruses you just have to sing along with before it slams the brakes completely and sinks into a bittersweet bridge section tailor-made for late nights under black lights. Or “Killpop,” a dark and twisted pseudo-ballad reminiscent of something from Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses, minor and major key melodies intertwining and tightening like piano wire until the song explodes into complete chaos.